Expo Chicago Names Stephanie Cristello as Artistic Director

By Claire Selvin

Expo Chicago has announced that Stephanie Cristello, founding editor-in-chief of The Seen and the fair’s former director of programming, is its new artistic director. Kathleen Rapp, who has worked with Expo Chicago since its inception in 2010, has been appointed managing director of VIP relations. And Jeff Rhodes, a specialist in art fair logistics and operations, will be managing director of operations and exhibitor relations.

As artistic director, Cristello will oversee the exposition’s panel-discussion program, site-specific installations, off-site exhibitions, and national and international collaborations and curatorial programs.

She has previously worked as senior editor for ArtSlant, and she has contributed to ArtReview, Elephant Magazine, Frieze Magazine, and Bomb Magazine, among other publications. She also serves as director and curator at Chicago Manual Style, a project space dedicated to thematic exhibitions and publishing. Recently, she facilitated a partnership between the Palais de Tokyo and the Institut Français wherein the two organizations presented an exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

Cristello said in a statement, “After six years with the organization, and the launch of numerous core programs, I look forward to being at the helm of expanding the legacy of an exposition whose mission reflects the strength of Chicago’s unique cultural and artistic context—as a site for leading challenging and rigorous discourse, presenting innovative platforms and initiating institutional collaborations within the global contemporary art field.”

Rapp has played an important role in Expo Chicago’s strategic growth, VIP program, and audience development. With more than 10 years of experience working in galleries and nonprofit organizations, she has spearheaded professional initiatives including the Curatorial Forum—produced in partnership with Independent Curators International—and the Northern Trust Collectors Experience. In her role as managing director of VIP relations, Rapp will continue working to create and develop partnerships with museums and art institutions.

Rhodes has held leadership positions with international art fairs in Miami and Chicago, and he has over 20 years of experience in arts programming and art fair management. As managing director of operations and exhibitor relations, Rhodes will continue to focus on exhibitor and visitor experience.

Tony Karman, Expo Chicago’s president and director, said in a release, “The exposition prides itself on presenting critically acclaimed international programming and service in support of our exhibitors and visiting patrons, and I am extremely proud to be working with, and learning from, this extraordinary team.”

Expo Chicago’s 2019 edition will take place from September 19 to 22 at the Windy City’s Navy Pier.